I have two bicycles - one is an alloy MTB and the other is an old steel frame roadie. I intend to box them and keep them in my parent's garage for the next ~2 years while I will be overseas for work. Selling is not an option (for emotional and real value). I plan to box both bikes as they come from the manufacturer:

  1. pedals, handlebar, chain and seat off
  2. Rear derailer removed, wrapped in bubble-wrap and tied to the frame
  3. Current tires will be sold off and an old useless pair installed with old tubes nicely coated with talc to keep them from becoming sticky.
  4. Healthy doses of lube on the cables
  5. Plastic wrapping on the MTB brake discs, spacers in the calipers.
  6. Box taped down with lots of duct tape.

Storage tempeatures will be from 5C to 45C during the year, and humidity will be low-moderate most of the year. Is the above scheme adequate? Anything else I should look out for?

Update: Thanks for all the pointers. One point I forgot to mention is that the bikes need to be shipped from my current residence to my parents first. The overkill packing is intended to ensure that they survive the transport and also the boxes can just be stowed till I get back, requiring no attention.

Update2: 4 years later Due to multiple reasons, latest being the Coronavirus pandemic, the bikes have stayed boxed for 4 years almost to the day. I'll be getting them soon and will update this thread soon.

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    I think that is a pretty good plan (maybe even overkill). One thing I would do is maybe order a couple of large silica packets (or something similar) to put in the boxes to absorb any moisture the bikes may encounter due to temperature changes.
    – npsantini
    Sep 19, 2016 at 16:53
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    Modern quick links are only good for 2-3 removal/install cycles. Sep 19, 2016 at 18:01
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    "Plastic wrapping on the MTB brake discs, spacers in the calipers." - Don't. This will lock moisture in and cause rust. Use cardboard or paper (or nothing)
    – mattnz
    Sep 19, 2016 at 20:24
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    In life we gather too much stuff - we're far too materialistic. Homes get "fat" with age. I remember being able to walk around my car in the garage, 20 years ago. Can't do that now. Answer Consider selling the bikes. You'll free some money towards your trip, save storage space, and someone else will have a bike to use. You've clearly excluded this as an answer for your specific needs, but adding it for completeness for future readers.
    – Criggie
    Sep 19, 2016 at 22:47
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    After a move to a new town, I hung my aluminum-framed road bike from 1998 upside-down on hooks in the garage, and gave it no other attention for nine years. Afterwards the STI brifters would upshift, but not downshift, so I had to send them out to be serviced. I paid a bike shop to lube the chain and such, but otherwise the bike was good to go with the original tubes and tires. The front tube and tire lasted several more years after that!
    – rclocher3
    Sep 20, 2016 at 3:39

3 Answers 3


Your plan sounds pretty sane to me.

Depending on how tolerant your parents are, I would prefer to leave the bike intact and open to the air, so it can dry if it gets damp, but that may not be possible.

I returned from uni, a long time ago now, and dug out my old mountain bike. It hadn't been prepared for 3 years on its own but came out just fine, less a few parts my brother had relieved me of.

When you return you'll want to give them a pretty through service but over 2 years nothing much should have degraded.

Tires would most likely be fine, if they're tubeless the sealant will have dried out and either disappeared or formed a lump of goo. They'll be flat and may crack along the fold.

Some bolts will have some surface rust.


This seems a bit too complicated; You only need to remove the wheels (or possibly just the front wheel), handlebar and pedals to box most bikes (and possibly seatpost), and put spacers in for things like the fork. You can usually leave the derailleur and chain on.

I wouldn't bother with the tire swap unless you need the money, since they won't degrade all that much in a reasonably temperature controlled dark environment like the one you have. Also, I wouldn't bother with lubricating cables.

  • +1 for the spacers and front wheel. I have the older cables so I'll be using a little light oil. As for tires: they'll certainly go flat and get pinched. I don't want to risk damaging the sidewalls, hence old tires.
    – kabZX
    Sep 19, 2016 at 18:02
  • If you're that worried, just take the tires off and hang them some place or something.
    – Batman
    Sep 19, 2016 at 20:49

I stored six bikes for an overseas trip of about 10 months. For the most part, they were ready to go when I got home - just had to inflate the tires and lube the chains. I did have two more major problems.

First, make sure to give your bikes a good cleaning. I ran out of time in advance of my trip, and my MTB and CX bikes had a bit of mud spatter left on them. There are now rust spots where most of the spatter used to be. These bikes are old steel bikes that haven't been babied, so they may be worse off than a bike that started out in better shape.

Second, it's a good idea to protect the bikes as if they are being shipped. You never know when something might come up that necessitates moving the bikes. Or someone may just bump into them. I ended up with a bunch of broken spokes on one of my bikes - I think it was due to being pushed into the pointy bed frame pieces beside it.

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    +1 "protect the bikes as if being shipped". My plan is to "overprotectively" pack them, ship them, and stow them after just a brief check to see that nothing was damaged in transit.
    – kabZX
    Sep 20, 2016 at 19:00

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